Anesthetic Effects of Sevoflurane on the Mouse Somatosensory Cortex: A Flavoprotein Fluorescence Imaging Study

Miki Senoo1, #, Takeo Sugita1, #, Tuwa Iwamoto1, Isato Fukushi2, 3, 4, Hitoshi Maeda2, Hirofumi Arisaka1, Shun-ichi Kuwana2, *
1 Department of Anesthesiology, Kanagawa Dental University, Yokohama, Japan
2 Faculty of Health Sciences, Uekusa Gakuen University, Ogura-cho, Wakaba-ku, Chiba 264-0007, Japan
3 Clinical Research Center, Murayama Medical Center, Musashimurayama, Japan
4 Faculty of Health Sciences, Aomori University of Health and Welfare, Aomori, Japan

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© 2023 Senoo et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Uekusa Gakuen University, Ogura-cho, Wakaba-ku, Chiba 264-0007, Japan; Tel: +81-43-239-2633; Fax: +81-43-233-9211; E-mail:
#These authors contributed equally



Sevoflurane, a volatile inhaled anesthetic, is used clinically for general anesthesia in humans. However, the mechanism of action of sevoflurane is not fully understood. We used transcranial flavoprotein fluorescence imaging to visualize somatic sensory cortex responses to noxious stimuli in mice without and with sevoflurane inhalation anesthesia at different concentrations to investigate sevoflurane effects in mice.


A bipolar stimulating electrode was inserted into the left buccal region of the mouse, and changes in flavoprotein fluorescence intensity in the right somatic sensory cortex were recorded before and after electrical stimulation. Measurements were taken while the mouse was awake, at four levels of sevoflurane concentration (0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, and 2.0%; 5 min each), and at 10, 20, and 30 min after the end of sevoflurane inhalation.


During the awake period, flavoprotein fluorescence intensities in the right sensory cortex decreased after the onset of electrical stimulation, but after 0.9 s, the fluorescence intensity began to increase, reaching a peak value at 2.1 s. This biphasic response significantly decreased at 0.5% sevoflurane and completely disappeared at sevoflurane concentrations above 1.5%, and restored 10 min after cessation of the sevoflurane inhalation. Furthermore, low concentrations of sevoflurane had little effect on the reduction of receptive fields or the conduction of excitation.


We conclude that low concentrations of sevoflurane have little effect on the reduction of receptive fields or the conduction of excitation, and that sevoflurane concentrations above 1.5% completely abolish the sensory cortex response elicited by noxious stimulation.

Keywords: Sevoflurane, Flavoprotein fluorescence imaging, Somatosensory cortex, Noxious stimuli, Mouse, Imaging study.